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Nursery Organization Secrets

Expert tips to keep your nursery as tidy as it looks the day baby moves in.

Baby-size stuff can make a pretty big mess, pretty fast. And having lots of clutter around will just add stress to your new-mom life. (You really don’t need that!) The secret to a neat nursery is coming up with an organizational system now that you’ll actually maintain later. We asked two designers (who are moms, of course) -- Sherri Blum of Jack and Jill Interiors, and Sarah Coombs of Sarah Coombs Design -- for their best tips for creating and keeping order.

Revamp the changing table

Storage bins are handy, but when it comes to organizing tough-to-corral changing-table items like lotions, Q-tips and diapers, think outside the box. Literally. Stash supplies in nontraditional containers that are the appropriate size, like terra-cotta flower pots, kitchen canisters, galvanized pails, a hanging wire vegetable basket, an over-the-door shoe organizer or a wall-mounted letter holder (yes, really). Things that are open or see-through give you fast access to the items you need while you’re holding a squirmy baby. If you have a combo changing table–dresser, use drawer dividers to organize smaller items like socks.

Go vertical

Create extra storage space by taking advantage of the height of the nursery walls whenever possible. Install tall shelving, placing items you don’t use often -- or don’t want a curious kid to get into -- up high, out of reach. Or, if you’re crafty, buy a set of freestanding shelves and cover the front with fabric that coordinates with the nursery. (The fabric will also hide the mess.)

Tame the mountain of clothes

Every few months, separate baby’s clothes into three piles: what fits now, what she’ll grow into soon and what she’s outgrown. Keep the things from the first two piles in the nursery, placing the “fits now” group in a handy place and tucking away the “grow into soon” items for future use. Put too-small clothes in storage, sell them at a consignment shop, donate them to charity or give them to a friend.

Customize the closet

Make the most of all the room in baby’s closet. Stash folded clothes in a hanging cloth shoe organizer and use labeled dividers to organize hang-up pieces. Baby doesn’t need full-length hanging space (his clothes are so small). Install shelves above and below the closet rod and use them to store bins of toys, books and seasonal clothes. Just be sure to label your bins so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for when you need it.

Invest in built-ins

It may be pricey, but well-planned built-in storage is an investment that will adapt to baby’s changing needs. Have some installed around a window, with vertical cubbies to use as bookshelves and a lidded window-seat bench to hold bulkier items like baby’s blankets and sweaters.

On a budget? Flank a window with two identical bookcases -- the taller the better -- and anchor them to the wall (to prevent toppling). Or use the space under the window to place low cubbies and add baskets for baby’s toys.

Shop wisely

The number-one way to let the mess get out of control is to have more stuff than places to put it. It’s tempting to shop like crazy, but you’ll keep things clutter-free if you only buy or register for the gear and the clothes you really need. Not sure what should be on your short list? See our Registry Checklist.

Plus, more from The Bump:

When Should I Start Baby's Registry?

Registry 101

Baby Registry Showdown

-- Bonnie Vengrow

See More: Nurseries , Mommy Life